I’m sure most of you have seen those semi-humorous commercials for Apple’s Macintosh computers where the Mac is presented as a cool, hip young dude, while the Windows PC is portrayed as a helpless, bumbling nerd who always gets the worst of their interactions.
It really is a very persuasive attempt at belittling and demonizing Windows, and it is probably effective for the audience at which it seems to be aimed—adolescents and those who remain adolescent beyond their time. The message is clear: Mac is cooler than Windows. But what does that get you in the real world? The sad fact, for Apple, is that the Mac OS continues to account for less than 10% of computers sold, while Windows makes up most of the remainder. 

The problem for Apple is not the quality of their products. A sizable minority of power users prefers the Mac OS for its creative advantages and its somewhat better security (although one wonders if the security would be so good if Macs were more dominant in the world). No, the real albatross around the neck of Johnny Appleseed is the company’s destructive insistence on being cool, rather than responsible. 

The latest example of this is the company’s allowing a new application, Sikalosoft's Baby Shaker, to be part of its iPhone offerings. The app showed an onscreen baby that was heard to be crying, and the “fun” part was to shake the phone until the baby stopped crying—in other words, until the child died. Not surprisingly, the immediate result among the sentient public was outrage, especially given the well-publicized dangers of Shaken Baby Syndrome. 

Apple responded to the uproar and within a few days stopped offering the app and offered an apology. They acknowledged that it was offensive, and that it should not have been distributed. Still, one has to wonder how anything so patently offensive was approved for distribution in the first place. 

Who was the genius at Sikalsoft who thought this would be hip, cool and fun? And who was the Apple marketing guru (not to give a bad name to gurus) who chuckled about what a neat app this was? According to MacWorld, defenders of the app argued that its purpose was “clearly humorous.” Really? Who thinks this is humorous? I’d really like to know, because I would be willing to pay those individuals to refrain from becoming parents or ever working around children. 

And this isn’t the first time Apple has shot itself in the foot in this manner. MyFoxdc.com cites several other questionable iPhone apps, including: Slasher, which shows a large kitchen knife and emits horror move sounds when the iPhone is shaken with a stabbing motion; Prohibition 2: The Drug Wars, which encourages users to make money as drug dealers; and Wobble, which lets users upload pinup or adult images and make the various parts jiggle when the phone is shaken. 

Sure, questionable apps are available for Windows products as well, but Apple appears to be on a mission to emphasize sleaze and bad taste, then put it out there and proudly boast about how cool it is. This, in essence, is why we don’t think about the Mac OS for our business platforms. 

It’s one thing to appeal to teenagers as part of one’s marketing strategy, but it’s quite another for a company to acquit itself like a 15-year-old. Until Apple starts changing that tune, it will always be a discordant distraction in the business marketplace.

Ara C. Trembly is the founder of Ara Trembly, The Tech Consultant, and a noted speaker on and longtime observer of technology in insurance and financial services. He can be reached at ara@aratremblytechnology.com.

The opinions posted in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News or SourceMedia.

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